Rural communities face unique challenges when it comes to accessing rural healthcare and social services. As a result of the large distance between population centres and low population density, providing services in rural communities requires a different approach than in urban areas.
While healthcare and social services are not always direct municipal services, municipalities are taking on an increased role as the level of service provided by the province in rural areas is often insufficient. For example, many rural municipalities subsidize delivery of provincial emergency medical services, support the recruitment and retention of healthcare staff, and in some cases have become the direct owner of healthcare clinics to ensure they remain a presence in their communities.
Rural hospitals and social service hubs provide vital access to resources, and must be maintained to ensure equitable access.
What can candidates do on this issue?
Develop an understanding of service gaps and innovative service delivery approaches in rural communities. Listen to municipal representatives and local non-profit agencies to understand the shortfalls in provincial service delivery and how gaps are being filled locally. Use this knowledge to analyze healthcare and social service delivery through a rural lens and advocate for changes to funding and service delivery approaches.